1930’s school memories:
The children thrown sweets – like feeding chickens …
Sometimes we formed up in the playground in lines and did light physical exercise known as ‘drill’ – swinging your arms and bending your trunk.
Then once a year on Empire Day a Union Jack was flown from a window and we all marched past and saluted it.
The very idea of a day that would …“remind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.”, and that “The strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it.”, had been considered as early as 1897. The image of a motherly Queen Victoria, Empress of India, as its paramount ruler would be shared by an Empire spanning almost a quarter of the entire globe.Historic UK [i]
However it was not until after the death of Queen Victoria, who died on 22 January 1901, that Empire Day was first celebrated.
We had play times mornings and afternoons and I remember when I was in the infants class Mr Jewson, who lived nearly opposite the playground in the house called ‘Cavendish’ used to go to Mickey Day’s sweet shop and buy a large paper bag full of liquorice Allsorts.
He then came to the playground railing and threw the sweets out as though he were throwing corn to chickens.
We would scrap and fight for these sweets and once you were back at your desk you arranged your spoils, say five sweets, in the groove made for your pencil.
We looked forward to seeing Mr Jewson, for you had just 1d (that is 1 old penny which equals 0.4p now) for the whole week, if you were lucky.
With this you would buy a half penny Sherbert Fountain and, because they lasted a long time, a half penny’s worth of Aniseed Balls.
Written by Jack Wales February 2008.
See next article: Outside play in 1930′s Earith
Or see the first article in this series:  John (Jack) Wales: Earith early years, born 1925
[i] Historic UK (opens in a new window)